When purchasing, it is a good idea to take a close look at the pot to see if it is sized for the tree you are wanting. A pot too small will cause root problems. If the tree has been in the pot too long that is also a problem. If roots are growing around the pot it will be crucial to unwind them when planting. Otherwise they will continue to grow in that pattern and eventually choke themselves out. Roots coming out of the water holes in the bottom of the pot tell you that the tree has been in the pot a long time. Taking the time to shake out the roots and give them room to spread before putting them in the ground will encourage them to grow outward and help maintain a healthy plant.

Bare-root Trees

This type of tree isn’t much to look at. They are available during the dormant season and are generally deciduous trees. So, while it may look like you are purchasing a dead stick, come spring you should be pleasantly supprised by a beautiful tree. An obvious advantage to buying like this is that you can see the root system and know that it is healthy and spreading evening.

Local nurseries in our area sell fruit trees this way.

Bare root trees are grown in the field and when sold they are dug up and all the soil is removed for shipping. 

Balled and Burlap Trees 

Like the bare-root trees, balled and burlap trees (referred to as B & B) are field grown. Machinery is used to lift them out of the ground. They are scooped up with a clump of soil. The roots and soil are wrapped in burlap, and twine or wire is used to secure the ‘ball’. When purchasing it is important to find out if the burlap is biodegradable. If not, it must be removed when the tree/trees are planted.

After chosing the kind of tree you want, being sold in whichever of the above “packages” that you prefer, it’s time to plant. You have already pre-determined where it will go in the lawn and more than likely the nursery you purchased from has shared tipping on getting it into the ground. But here is something else to consider.

Your new investment will need water and nutrients. But so does anything else growing in your soil. This means that grass and weeds that are closest to the new tree are competing with it for those items. This is even more critical in the hot summer. To keep from robbing your tree of water and nutrients remove the grass in a  3-4 foot circle around it. A layer of mulch 2-4 inches deep will help hold moisture and deter grass and weeds from growning too closely.

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